After three bracelets were awarded on Thursday, the second Friday of play in the 42nd Annual World Series of Poker is upon us. The plans today are to crown a champion in the Shootout event, where Canadian pros Andrew Pantling and Erik Cajelais are in the hunt for the first Canadian championship of the 2011 WSOP.
Event #11 – $10,000 Omaha Hi/Lo World Championship – Final Day, Part Deux
Originally scheduled to be a three day tournament, three gentlemen came to the tables on Thursday to wrap up the table following its suspension on Wednesday. The trio – George Lind, Viacheslav Zhukov and Steve Billirakis – were facing large blinds when the tournament restarted on Thursday, making for what turned out to be a rather quick wrap-up.
Billirakis, who came in on the short stack with 740,000 in chips, was the first to depart. With the blinds at 120,000/240,000, he had only three big blinds to fight with and it wasn’t enough as Billirakis was eliminated within the first half hour of play. On his final hand, Steve was able to make two pair (no low), but Zhukov was able to river a King for his K-K-Q-4 to scoop the entire pot. Billirakis would have to settle for a six figure payday of $214,697 instead of his second WSOP bracelet.
Down to heads up play, Lind held a slight lead over Zhukov but, before the level had ended, Viacheslav had turned the tables on George. Once the blinds were upped, Zhukov held a 4-1 lead over Lind in chips.
Begetting the nature of split pot games, Zhukov had a fight in ending Lind’s tournament. At one point, Lind actually had fought back to seize a smallish lead, but Zhukov would bounce back to reestablish himself as the chip leader. It took Zhukov and Lind nearly three hours of heads up play to determine the winner but, once Zhukov found the Wheel on the final hand, Viacheslav Zhukov defeated George Lind to take home the title of World Champion of Omaha Hi/Lo, the WSOP bracelet and $465,216.
Event #12 – $1500 Triple Chance No Limit Hold’em – Final Day
Ten men came back on Thursday to determine the champion of the $1500 Triple Chance event, with no Canadians in the mix. Nicholas Rampone sat atop the mountain at the start of play, but the dangerous two-time WSOP bracelet winner Bill Chen was lurking in the field.
Once Steve Watts was eliminated from the event in tenth place, the official WSOP final table began at approximately 4PM, with those in contention wasting little time getting to action. Rampone would lose the chip lead to David Diaz when Diaz’ A-Q outflopped Rampone’s pocket sixes and Rampone would drop down the leader board. On his final hand, Rampone knocked heads with Chen and was at a distinct disadvantage, his pocket Jacks way behind Chen’s pocket Queens. Once the board came ten high, Rampone was out in eighth place and Chen was the new leader.
At the dinner break, Chen maintained his chip lead over Andrea Dato and, following the sustenance, the twosome began to knock out players. Each man took out one player each to bring the action to four handed, where it truly got interesting. Diaz survived a couple of all ins with inferior Aces by chopping pots with superior ones before doubling up through Dato, which brought all four remaining players within 500,000 chips of each other. If someone could get on a rush, then the tournament would be theirs.
That player would be Diaz, who crippled and then dispatched Chen from the table in fourth place and Dato in third. Heads up against Anders Meli, Diaz was sporting a 4-1 chip lead and used that advantage to knock out Meli in second place. With some well-timed aggression and, yes, some good fortune, David Diaz was crowned the champion of the Triple Chance event, taking the WSOP gold and the $352,808 first place prize.
Event #13 – $1500 No Limit Hold’em Shootout – Day 2
With 160 players coming back on Thursday for Day 2, the plans were to play two rounds of single table sit and gos to reduce the field to the final sixteen survivors. That goal was reached on Thursday evening, with two Canadians poised to the take their shot at WSOP gold.
In search of his second WSOP bracelet, Erik Cajelais is joined in the final sixteen by Andrew Pantling, and the duo face some difficult foes if they are able to win this tournament. 2009 40th Anniversary $40,000 No Limit Hold’em champion and two time bracelet holder Vitaly Lunkin is looking for a third bracelet, while David “The Dragon” Pham and defending WSOP Player of the Year Frank Kassela lurk. As of press time, the table draws haven’t been announced, but the potential for a highly entertaining final table is there.
Several Canadians cashed for the minimum ($4998) in the tournament, Coming up just short as the last man eliminated in his sit and go, Carter Swidler was joined by Jonathan Plens, Franco Cupello, Hui Chen Kuo, Maxwell Greenwood, Scott Montgomery, Alexander Livingston, Allen Puzantyan, Andrew St. Jean, Shaun Hartlin, Sean LeFort, Lucas Greenwood and Daniel Negreanu (his first 2011 WSOP cash) in making the money. When the tournament ends today, the champion will take home the WSOP bracelet and a $369,371 boost to his bankroll.
Event #14 – $3000 Limit Hold’em – Day 2
The 163 players who returned for action on Day 2 of the $3000 Limit Hold’em event wasted little time in getting the field in shape for Friday’s action. Playing the entirety of the twelve hours allotted on Thursday, eighteen men will come back on Friday to determine the latest champion at the WSOP.
Two Canadians are once again poised for a shot at making the final table and, perchance, the WSOP bracelet. Sitting in third place with 289,000 chips is Regina’s Tyler Bonkowski, while Sorel “Imper1um” Mizzi has some work to do from his twelfth place slot (88,500 in chips) to get deeper into the tournament. A third Canadian, top professional Shawn Buchanan, was eliminated in 20th place for a $7019 payday.
Bonkowski and Mizzi will be looking up at chip leader Shawn Keller when play starts on Friday, with other top pros such as Victor Ramdin and Jeff Schulman also still in the mix. The tournament will finish todaywith the awarding of $220,817 and the WSOP bracelet to the first place finisher.
Event $15 – $1500 Pot Limit Hold’em – Day 1
An excellent field of 765 players turned out for Day 1 of the Pot Limit Hold’em tournament, outpacing the 650 runners from 2010. The carnage of Day 1 was evident in that only 88 players survived the killing fields to come back for action on Friday. There is still some work for these players, as only 72 of them will take home some cash for their efforts.
Ronald Lee is the Day 1 chip leader, but the defending champion of the tournament, the United Kingdom’s James “Flushy” Dempsey, is sitting back in eleventh place in his attempt to repeat. Canadian players Rene Angelil, Owen Crowe and Pat Pezzin are among those who still have a shot at the $$227,232 first place check and the valued WSOP bracelet.
Event #16 – $10,000 No Limit Deuce To Seven Draw Lowball World Championship – Day 1
Surprising some in the Amazon Room at the Rio, the third World Championship event of the 2011 WSOP brought out a field of 126 runners, 25 more than showed up in 2010. The remaining 88 players represent some of the biggest names in the game today, as such players as Jennifer Harman, Phil Hellmuth, Hasan Habib and David “The Devilfish” Ulliott are among those in the Top 15.
Canada is represented by George Lind, Daniel Negreanu, Eric Cloutier and Mike Watson, but they have some heavy lifting to do to reach chip leader Vince Musso’s 106,200 stack. The plan is to play down to the final table on Friday, with the WSOP bracelet and the $367,170 to be awarded on Saturday.
STARTING TODAY: $1500 H.O.R.S.E
One of the most entertaining mixed game formats, the $1500 H.O.R.S.E. tournament opens up for play at noon on Friday. Expect this field to potentially crack the 1000 player mark, as previous $1500 events during the 2011 WSOP have far exceeded their expectations. In 2010, 828 players plied their skills in one of the truest tests of poker ability – playing limit versions of Texas Hold’em, Omaha Hi/Lo, Razz, Seven Card Stud and Seven Card Hi/Lo – with Russia’s Konstantin Puchkov defeating Al “Sugar Bear” Barbieri for the 2010 championship.
The railbirds in the Rio will have plenty of poker on their plates, with two bracelets set to be awarded during action on Friday. This weekend, the second of the $1000 No Limit Hold’em events will take place, ensuring that the second weekend of action at the 2011 World Series of Poker will be packed to the rafters of the Amazon Room.